¹Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1-5 )
Although we often hear that we should not judge people, there are many examples of people judging others in the Bible. Paul prayed that our love would abound more and more in all judgment (Phil. 1:9), and Jesus and the disciples spoke of judging. So it is evident there must be a right way and a wrong way of judging.
In Luke 12:56-57, Jesus used the words discern and judge interchangeably. There is certainly nothing wrong with discerning or spiritually appraising a situation or person, and we are told to try the spirits. (1 John 4:1.) Judging as discernment is good. It is the condemning type of judgment that is wrong. We can defer passing a sentence on people to God, knowing only He can make a perfect judgment. (Rom. 2:2; Rev. 20:13.)
Jesus does not forbid judgment, but He warns us to be careful with how we judge someone else because we will be judged the same way. There are certain cases where we have to pass a condemning sentence, as Paul did or as a judge would do today. Pastors and elders are charged with rebuking and even disciplining church members, but it is not something to be done lightly. Judging is not aimed at the person but at the actions of that person. This warning constrains us to be certain that we have heard from God. We must not simply vent our own frustrations or personal biases.
Every Christian needs God’s wisdom in making judgments. You can be confident today that the Holy Spirit will help you to spiritually discern or judge situations and people and then give you the courage and compassion to act according to God’s Word.